posted 6 years ago
You’d think that Rua’s resume, coupled with the fact that the strap is around his waist, would make him the favorite in UFC 128 predictions. However, Rua is listed as the +160 underdog as he defends his title against Jones, who is a heavy favorite at -200. To me, those are unconscionable odds given the fact that Rua is a 29 year old veteran with 23 fights behind him.
The rise of Bones Jones has been nothing short of meteoric, and that’s almost an understatement. He’s only thirteen fights deep in his career, and already has a solid record of 12-1 SU with his only loss coming against Matt Hamill in a fight that he was disqualified in for using the dreaded 12-6 elbow strike.Considering how beaten down Hamill was in that fight, Jones should be considered an undefeated fighter.
My main issue with banking a UFC 128 prediction on Jones is that he hasn’t faced a fighter like Shogun ever, and you have to keep in mind that even Dana White was hesitant to thrust him in to Rashard Evans’ rightful spot as the number one contender. Jones has victories over Stephan Bonnar, Brandon Vera and Ryan Bader but none of those really tell us if the creative striker is ready for the likes of the champ.
Truthfully, if you want to talk about incredible rises to prominence, you can’t ignore what Mauricio Rua has accomplished in his short tenure in the UFC. Some were disappointed by his debut against Forrest Griffin, when her lost by a rear-naked choke in the dying seconds of the fight, but Rua has more than made up for that. UFC Predictions
Jon Jones (12-1) vs. Mauricio Rua (19-4)
Saturday, March 19th --- 10:00pm EST
UFC 128 Fight Lines: Jones -200 / Rua +160
Toppling Mark Coleman, Chuck Liddell and Lyoto Machida certainly deserves much praise. But the real kicker is that Rua has won Knockout of the Night twice and Fight of the Night once already in his 3-2 SU record in the UFC.
The consensus around the water cooler is that Bones Jones will undoubtedly be a world champion in the future. What pundits like myself wonder is if he’s ready for that shot now. What I do know is that his record setting, 84-inch reach and his knack for innovative strikes make him a deserving title contender. The kid is talented, but is he mature enough?
The strange part about the hype around Jones-Rua is that doubting Jones’s resolve is the wrong question to ask in UFC 128 predictions. We all know that Rua is a deadly man when you allow him to get close. The question is not whether Jones is ready to be a champion now. Rather it’s whether or not Rua can solve Jones’s ridiculous reach and speed.
What may cripple Jones here is that he has not faced a veteran like Rua before, and if he has any glaring vulnerability, Rua can find it. That’s the kind of stuff that comes with experience. So far, we haven’t seen Jones show any semblance of a weakness aside from not knowing some of the rules of the octagon.
It’s hard for me to get past that 84-inch reach. By comparison, Rua’s reach is 76-inches and testing Jones on the ground would be a big mistake. Rua seems bigger, but Jones is taller and the exact same weight as the champion. On top of that, Jones is certainly a better grappler on the ground.